Archive for the ‘Reference’ Category

Global Warming 101 – a short reading list for everyone

June 5, 2008

Confused by the media’s coverage of man-made global warming? (a.k.a. anthropogenic global warming or AGW.)

Are we warming or are we cooling? Is climate change simply a result of natural variability or is it really man-made? Is the science to be trusted?

Scientific advances have made global warming well understood. Global warming is the existential threat of our time – greater I say, than even the threat of nuclear holocaust. We have only a few years to understand the enormity of the crisis and successfully act, so that our children might avoid the worst effects in the following decades. Yet doubts linger for many and are even growing in some.

Therefore ignorance of the subject should not be excused. This post attempts to provide a short list of resources that clearly and succinctly explain global warming.

Please read what you can. Pass a link to this post on to those you suspect have questions or doubts about it – express your concerns and ask them to read too.


The Basic Scientific Understanding:

Basic Fossil Fuel Facts – an indispensable condensed explanation, at the end of a letter addressed to Governor Gibbons of Nevada by Jim Hansen. (It starts on page 5, but the letter is very good too.)

Climate Code Red: The case for a sustainability emergency – a great summary of the science up to the start of this year, giving the crisis the urgency it deserves.

Understanding and Attributing Climate Change – IPCC makes the case. (See also Dire Predictions in Books below.)

Detecting and Attributing External Influences on the Climate System: A Review of Recent Advances – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Assessing key vulnerabilities and the risk from climate change – the IPCC’s take on what’s at stake.

The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity, Executive Summary – U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Global Warming Fact & Our Future – National Academy of Sciences covers almost every angle in a great interactive website.

Special Report: Climate Change – covers the crisis from many angles.

The Science Behind the Science and Why it can be trusted:

Scientists Explain How They Attribute Climate-Change Data – A Wall Street Journal article shows why the science can be trusted.

Models ‘key to climate forecasts’ – BBC’s examination of our most powerful tool in understanding global warming.

Addressing Doubt:

Climate change: A guide for the perplexed – a great “round-up of the most common climate myths and misconceptions”.

Skeptical Science: Examining the science of global warming skepticism

How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic – and stop them in their tracks.

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic
– Grist’s rundown is great help too.

The Denial Industry – George Monbiot’s eye opening account of the origin of the concerted network opposing legitimate climate science. Think Big Tobacco.


Best Global Warming Blogs:

Climate Progress
Real Climate

Related Websites:

Climatic Research Unit
Hadley Center for Climate Prediction
Jim Hansen
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Snow and Ice Data Center
Climate Ark
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce – The best A to Z treatment I’ve read.
Dire Predictions – Understanding Global Warming by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump – The best explanation of the IPCC findings anywhere.
Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics–and What We Should Do by Joseph Romm
The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer R. Weart
Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Surprising Truth About Global Warming by Mark Bowen
Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot, Matthew Prescott
The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge by Kristin Dow, Thomas E. Downing
The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity by James Lovelock, Crispin Tickell

And Now Action:
Okay, enough reading! Armed with the facts, go out and fight for our children’s future – change our personal, political and public lives. A comprehensive place to start is right here, at my blog: Checklist Toward Zero Carbon. Download it, edit it, make it your own, and pass it on.